By Joseph Erunke – Abuja
A group, Public and Private Development Centre, PPDC, has appealed to governments at both federal and state levels to either reduce or waive tax rates for women in the public procurement process.
The group which claimed that women have always been sidelined in the procurement process given the stringent conditions attached to the competitive bidding process insisted that it was time for women contactors to be encouraged through reduction or waiver of tax rates in public procurement process.
This was even as it appealed to the government “to amend laws to apportion certain percentages to women in the contracting process and provide access to funding opportunities for women to venture into procurement among others.”
At a media briefing, it held Friday, in Abuja, with support from African Freedom of Information Centre, AFIC, the Private Development Centre, PPDC, said its appeal came against the backdrop of findings from its just-concluded research project on women participation in public procurement.
According to the organization which spoke through its Program Director, Ifeoma Onyebuchi,” findings from the research indicated that women are often sidelined in public procurement process as a result of various factors ranging from lack of access to information, technology, cultural bias and lack of understanding of the contracting process.”
To this end, it advocated the reduction or waiver of tax rates on small businesses to help women thrive and bid for contracts.
She explained that the briefing was held to present to the general public, findings from PPDC’s just-concluded research project which brought together women working in formal and informal sectors with the aim to foster an open government through women participation in public procurement.
The project, she said, “was implemented in three countries, namely Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.”
“The project sought to deepen women’s participation in public procurement; access the level of institutional arrangements and policies that inhibits or encourages their participation. The project attempt to ascertain the level of enabling the environment to which Nigerian women across the formal and informal sectors can leverage to actively engage in all public contracting processes,” she further explained.
Onyebuchi said, “an in-depth review of existing laws, policies, and government initiatives were undertaken to determine gaps and make suggestions on best approaches to promote gender equity in Nigeria’s contracting landscape.”
The PPDC, according to Onyebuchi tasked government on the provision of capacity building initiatives and programmes to empower informal sector women to form cooperatives.
It also challenged “Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations to educate women at the grassroots with government assisting with bidding for contracts.”